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Women in Ag: Let’s Stop the Food Judging

Delve into my pantry, refrigerator, or freezer and you will find an assortment of food products and ingredients.

  • I do a fair amount of home cooking, even on weeknights, so I always have eggs (regular conventionally raised eggs, by the way), meats (A LOT of turkey, of course), pasta, bread, rice, seasonings, etc. at the ready.
  • We do love our guilty pleasures, though, so you’ll also find Doritos and yep, those are Pringles taking up shelf space.
  • Once in a while, it’s handy to have some quick meal options, so you’ll find boxed macaroni and cheese, boxed pasta salad, and chicken nuggets/strips – we can’t live without those  – in the freezer.
  • You might even find some organic products – not because I believe they are any better for my family than alternative options. Rather, I might buy organic because we simply like the taste of that product. 

Simple, really. I have a variety of food options that work for my family that we eat in moderation. No guilt. No overthinking.

So please, I ask you – don’t judge me.

I don’t pay extra for cage-free, free-range, or brown eggs in fancy packaging with any type of happy hens marketing schtick because I have the pleasure of knowing chicken farmers of all types, so I’m confident the eggs from conventionally raised hens are just fine for my family. If you want to pay extra for those products, that’s OK with me. Go right ahead, as I know there is a market for just about anything and everyone, and the farmers who raise those niche eggs are doing a good job as well.

But please, don’t judge me – and also realize not everyone can afford some of those specialty products.

I don’t pay extra for turkey and chicken products labeled with “no antibiotics ever” or “no hormones added” because I know that all poultry must be antibiotic-free due to regulated withdrawal periods before being processed and packaged for the grocery story. And I know it’s illegal to give poultry added hormones and steroids. If you want to pay more for those poultry products, that’s fine with me.

But please, don’t judge me because I don’t, and for the love of Pete, please understand that it is, indeed, ILLEGAL to give poultry (and pigs, for that matter) added hormones and steroids. It does not happen.

I drink a diet soda more than occasionally and I give in to my cravings for Lay’s Sour Cream and Cheddar potato chips too – probably a little too often, truth be told. So be it. Life is too short not to enjoy things you love.

So please, don’t judge me for my guilty pleasures. (Did I mention wine? I forgot to mention wine.)

I make sure my family is fed healthy, (mostly) well-rounded meals on most days. But I do serve up cereal for supper once in a while and indulgen in coffee cake for breakfast quite a bit. And we love it.

So please, don’t judge me.

My friend and author of a new book called Food Truths From Farm To Table, Michele Payn, says “Convenience is reality; it’s not always right or wrong.”

She also has this to say: “Let’s make this simple; food is a basic necessity. We eat to sustain life. Not to make a political statement. Not as a status symbol. Not because of a claim on a package. Food is sustenance.” 

Amen, I say.

Let’s not make food difficult. Let’s enjoy what we love, and realize that science isn’t something to be afraid of. Ask questions of farmers if you want to know how they grow their crops or raise their animals. Let’s not cave to fear marketing and, instead, try to stop being overly confused about (and overthinking) what we buy in the grocery store.

And please – let’s not judge each other.

Doesn’t that sound, well, downright freeing?

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